Sunday, February 09, 2014
Working Hard and Living in the Shadows
It has been several days since the President gave his State of the Union Address. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I like to wait a few days and re-read, and digest his remarks several times or otherwise like them, I would just pen worthless vitriolic dispositions either in praise or disdain for the Commander in chief. I mean truth be told I anticipate and expect that all politicians, regardless of party, sex and/or gender LIE.
I listened attentively to the #SOTU on the radio and afterwards, downloaded a copy of the text of the complete address. There are several things that stood out which in reality are both true and false, depending on which side of the tracks you are located. First, he stated: “The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market.”
This is basically what the President has been repeating for the last few years as if he believed just by saying it over and over again it will make it true. First and foremost, housing market is flat and uneven across the nation, let alone rebounding. Fact is that only an idiot would believe the happy talk coming out of the White House, Federal Reserve and Treasury Dept. when it comes to the real unemployment rate and just how bad (and bad isn’t good in this case) major segments of the US population are doing from an economic purview. The true unemployment rate of those not working is almost 40 percent and not the 6.7% advertised by the Fed. By sheer tricknology alone, Obama Keynesian economists cite the rising US stock market as evidence the economy is picking up steam yet simultaneously act truly surprised by the lack of hiring across the nation. Their description of the unemployment rate only describes people who are currently working or looking for work which mean if you are unemployed and not seeking a job you may as well be employed by their math since unemployment in its truest definition refers to the portion of people who do not have any job, full or part-time. Not to mention that as a nation, we need to add at least 127,000 jobs each month just to keep up with our annual population increase. In December we saw only 74,000 jobs added, of which most were temporary and part-time for the holiday season and represented the lowest increase since Jan 2011.
The manner in which unemployment presently is calculated doesn’t even include folk who have just entered the labor force and haven't found a job. Which brings us to his last point and begs the query, why and how is the US stock market hitting theserecord highs while so many are unemployed? For one, 95 percent of the new income that has been generated since 2009 has mostly gone to the top 1 percent. This has mainly been the result of the Administrations “top down” economic policies which encourage companies to keep their profits strong by not hiring folk. Moreover, there is Quantative Easing (QE) which promotes that every month, the Federal Reserve buy bonds so it can inject $85 billion into the money supply. So the folk with money in essence can make more money why all else feel this devaluation of the currency in our pockets since the result is inflation that only pushes all prices higher, including stocks.
Then there is Obamacare, which is really a throwback tariff that in essence enables big companies to get paid for each full-time worker they cover and provides strong incentives for small businesses to stay below 50 full-time workers. The reality is that longer unemployment benefits or subsidized government-run health care are the kind of policies that contribute to the systemic discouragement of production & employment. This maybe one factor contributing to the observation that for the first time ever in America, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps.
In simple terms, with a smaller proportion of Americans in the overall workforce, the policy of the present administration is plutocratic at best and corporatist at worse since government benefits are handouts that are approved as acceptable for the wealthy, but bad for Americans in general – whether employed, under employed or unemployed.
The only thing that we have to sale to the world if one wants to keep it real are fraudulent and toxic financial instruments and other complex papers and GMO foods that no one around the world even wants to purchase. We have money to spend too, however as of 2012, we have spent $682 billion on defense, while as a nation we have nearly 4 million U.S. workers laboring at or belowminimum wage, with the percentage of Hispanic and African-American children living in poverty, growing an now at 36% - numbers that show how Obama’s economic policy hits and hurts the younger and more economically disadvantaged members of society more severely.
The President also stated, “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.” I find this comical albeit it true, but it reminds me that he goes out of his way to mention women, gays, and even the needs of foreign nation over his largest constituency – African Americans and the poor. He never mentioned “poverty” or “the poor”” or “African Americans in his #SOTU address, and he never will. Don’t hold your breath to hear him say: “A black person deserves equal pay for equal work. “ Funny seeing that Barack Obamacaptured 93% of the black vote in 2012 and our reward remains to be what it was under prior presidents - Jobless, homeless and in poverty.
And even “by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10” this will not change, for if one works part-time, 29 hours a week for fifty-two weeks they will only make $15,080 annually, a figure still well below the poverty line in the U.S. for an individual. And the President saying openly that “I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in… “ Sounds more like a snake oil salesman that actually policy given no one can predict or guarantee a return on any investment without doing some crooked ole shyster shit. And even worse, the audacity for him to make us give our money to the fraudulent big investment banks that caused these current troubled fiscal times is anti-American. We saw what happened in Greece. If this is allowed, then one can be certain that the “my” will become the property of the government and the banking houses on Wall Street. It is not by accident that the majority of financial wealth controlled by the bottom 60 percent of all Americans is just 2.3 percent.
I don’t see any reality in the conditional’s in the forms of: if”, “can”, and could” mentioned by the President to help and serve the needs of the hardest hit and still suffering on Main street. Five years in to Obama’s presidency the number of African-Americans participating in the labor force is at its lowest point everand still dropping. Still in America, data continues to show that African Americans are still more likely to get denied a home lone than other ethnic groups.
Thus it is easy to see why the current rate for African American men in the labor force fell to 65.6 percent in December, the lowest on record. I mean in America we have more than 2.3 million incarcerated across the country, which by law obviates a convicted felons the right to vote, meaning that the 5.9 million former and current felons disenfranchised from voting are likely to remain in poverty, of which 37% of that 5.8 million are African Americans.
The #SOTU only reinforced what I understand about the present Administration, American politics and the economic policies of our nation spawned from the bowels of Wall Street. Both Bush & Obama policymakers destroyed the US economy for the sake of short-term corporate profits via jobs off-shoring & deregulation for the folk who already got it good. And no amount of fancy word play can change that for no matter who is in office, no matter their race or gender, the rest of us will have to keep on working hard and living in the shadows, that is if we have a job. And if you think Detriot is bad, in reality that is what the future of America holds, but I will specifically address that later.